Travel Diary: The Catlins, NZ

In the weekend we headed down to the Catlins to enjoy a weekend away for the boyfriends birthday. The Catlins is such a pretty place and there’s lots to see and do so we decided to spend a night down there so we had two days to explore. We based ourselves in Owaka which just a little over a hours drive from Dunedin. It’s a small country town, yet it’s still big enough to have a couple of cafes (which is very important! ☕️ ). It’s a great base to explore the Catlins from, as it’s only ever an hour or so drive to the main attractions.

On our first day we headed to Kaka Point and Nugget Point which are about half an hour from Owaka. Kaka Point is a tiny coastal town which is popular for holiday homes and tourists. On a good day it’s very scenic, but unfortunately it poured down where we were there so we didn’t stay long. We headed on to Nugget Point where there is a short 10 minute walk out to the Nugget Point Lighthouse. It’s a really easy walk and when you get to the end the scenery is absolutely stunning. You feel a bit like your at the end of the Earth and can enjoy views from the lighthouse of the ‘nuggets’ that are in the water. Coming here on a stormy day was actually quite fun as the waves were crashing up on to the rocks. We also spotted some seals playing around on the rocks below. As you can see in the first couple of pictures below, the wind was so strong at the start of the walk. I was literally holding my hood down and trying not to fall over as the wind was so crazy! When we got out to the lighthouse it was much calmer, which was a nice surprise!

The second day we headed to Purakaunui Falls, which has to be one of the Catlins most popular attractions and it’s only 17km from Owaka. There’s a short walk to the falls through the native bush and it’s a bit like being in an enchanted forest. The weather wasn’t that great again, but it was actually lovely walking through the bush in the rain and the falls were spectacular due to all of the water falling over them. There was hardly anyone around when we got there so we actually walked right up to the bottom of the falls….. it’s much more spectacular seeing them from the bottom rather than from the viewing deck 😉

The Catlins

The Catlins

Finally we headed to Jack’s Blowhole which is about a half hour drive from the falls. There’s lots of gravel roads down in the Catlins and all the rain meant the car got absolutely filthy…. it was kind of funny driving it back into town! When we got to Jacks Bay it was raining again but we decided to do the 30 minute walk to the Blowhole anyway…. we’re only there once right? It was a lovely scenic walk as you can see from the pictures below, but man it was muddy! Both of us nearly slipped over a few times. We weren’t really expecting it to be so muddy so we didn’t have the best footwear on… I’m just so glad I didn’t wear my new Nike sneakers! My shoes were filthy by the time we got back to the car! The blowhole is pretty spectacular… it’s in the middle of this farm and it’s 200 meters inland. It just seems to strange seeing the sea when you are so far away from it!

The Catlins is such a lovely place to head to for the weekend and there’s so much to see and do. There are a lot of walks and other places that we didn’t visit as it was just too wet. You would think by early January it would be fab weather for us here in NZ, but this summer has really been one of the most miserable I can remember!

Photos are taken on an iPhone SE, except from the Purakaunui Falls shots which are taken on a Canon EOS 1200D

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  1. This is Jess Gibson

    January 9, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Great photos! I would love to visit this place now! Adding to my bucket list for the year haha x

    1. Sarah Lilly

      January 10, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks Jess! It’s such a pretty place, highly recommend visiting, especially the falls and Nugget Point! 🙂

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